The orange tent, which sprawled across a small plateau above the Ecuadorian village of San Bernardo, shone like a bicycle reflector against the dark, two-mile high mountains of the southern Chimborazo Province. The tent seemed out of place—more suitable to a county fair than to a remote Quichua Indian village.

But then, what was going on inside the tent would have been even more conspicuous in San Bernardo less than 15 years ago. On this crisp July evening, more than 800 Quichua Christians, sitting poncho to poncho, young and old, were studying Scripture and singing gospel songs. They had come, seemingly out of nowhere, to this isolated tent for a week-long conference. The San Bernardo church had purchased the colorful canvas from a Texas tentmaker to provide a meeting place large enough for the growing number of area believers.

Pastor Agustín Anilemo organized the conference to develop Christian maturity in his church members. Since becoming the first Christian convert in San Bernardo nine years ago, and then its first pastor, Anilemo has baptized more than 150 new believers.

Ecuadorian field director for Gospel Missionary Union (GMU), Henry Klassen, who brought a generator-powered film projector and a movie about Noah’s ark to the conference, said San Bernardo church members have a great desire to study Scripture. They even want church history and Christian anthropology courses—any kind of biblically-related knowledge “they can get their hands on,” he said.

Less than a generation ago, Saturday night in San Bernardo and other Quichua villages meant marathon drinking sprees. The Quichuas slept late to get sober, not because they had been up past midnight at a gospel songfest (as they were on Saturday night of the tent conference). ...

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